During the Easter holidays, I took Aurelia to the South Lakes Safari Zoo located close to the Lake District. This proved to be a wonderful family day out and well worth a visit. I simply cannot recommend the zoo enough!
South Lakes Safari Zoo houses over 1000 animals and more than 150 species. The zoo lies on 51 acres of land in Cumbria, one of the least densely populated counties in the UK. The zoo has been in operation since 1994 and has always been a popular tourist attraction.
Our Experience of South Lakes Safari Zoo
What impressed me the most about South Lakes Safari Zoo is the whole atmosphere of the place. The staff are all extremely friendly, welcoming and helpful. The zoo feels less of a business and more like an open park.
The animals are extremely well cared for and their welfare is clearly of paramount importance to the staff. The way in which the staff interact with the animals gives the impression that both the animals and the staff are all part of one big family.
Although souvenirs can be bought at the zoo and eateries are on site, South Lakes Safari Zoo doesn’t seem as commercially driven as some other zoos I have visited. Gaining huge profits by selling tack isn’t what drives the business, rather the animals themselves and the experience of the visitors are of more importance. The zoo seemingly seeks to educate rather than fleece their visitors.
Aurelia and I had some wonderful experiences here and created memories we will never forget.
What Makes South Lakes Safari Zoo Different?
Besides an incredibly relaxed and friendly atmosphere, the zoo enables visitors to get up close and personal with their animals. This is one of the real draws of the zoo. Visitors can feed some of the animals and even walk amongst some of them as they roam freely on the grounds.
For the cost of £3.00, Aurelia had an experience she will never forget – feeding the giraffes. Aurelia held up carrots to the giraffes to hand feed them!
For a small fee, you can also feed other animals, including the Lemurs and the penguins. Talks are given throughout the day and you can watch some of the animals as they are fed by the keepers, such as the big cats. I was incredibly upset to have missed the Arctic Wolf talk (wolves are my favourite animals). But there was just so much to see and do, it was hard to squeeze it all into a day!
Worldwide Safari Zoo
This was perhaps my most favourite part of our visit. This huge enclosure is open – in the worldwide safari zoo, no cages separate people from animals. The animals are obviously of the less deadly variety and include lemurs, emus, kangaroos and wallabies to name but a few.
Here are the animals we encountered on our walk:
Rather terrifying looking at first, the Greater Rhea roamed free and was rather friendly.
Aurelia thought the Emu eating from the mouth of a ‘crocodile’ was hilarious!
We love Lemurs, they are such adorable little creatures. We caught some of them relaxing in the sun.
And one was peaking out of a window!
We also encountered Marmots.
And a beautiful peacock!
Aurelia thought she spotted Bambi! We found out this miniature deer is called a Reeve’s Muntjac deer. And it seemed to get on rather well with the goose!
I have never seem any animal as relaxed as these Kangaroos were!
The only animal within this enclosure that was kept behind a fence was the Andean bear. But I have never seen a bear as close before!
Visitors can feed the penguins at the zoo for £3.00 at set times throughout the day. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to feed them. However, Aurelia did get a few photos with the penguins as they came out to greet us.
South Lakes Safari Zoo houses a number of primates including the White-Handed Gibbon. These little fellows were incredibly cute and playful! We could have watched them climbing for hours!
We also fell in love with the Siamangs! They were so tiny!
I overcame my fear of birds to walk through the giant aviary. We saw a multitude of vultures fly over us as we walked through. For the most part, the vultures settled up high and watch us walk by. This was an incredibly eerie but wonderful experience.
After escaping the glare of the Vultures, we enjoyed watching the Flamingos basking in the sun.
On our visit, we only saw one of the resident big cats (it was rather warm and the others had taken to the shade). We saw Shikar, an enormous lion sunbathing in the heat.
This morning, we sadly learnt that this magnificent animal passed away yesterday. My thoughts go to the keepers who cared for this majestic animal who must feel such a tragic loss.
You can actually arrange to feed the big cats! I imagine this would be such an amazing experience!
Prior to feeding the giraffes we were lucky enough to have one of them come right over to us.
The Rhinos, Bisson and Zebras roamed around their enclosure. The Rhinos were absolutely massive!
Of course, no adventure would be complete without a play on the playground! The zoo had an enormous playground for the kids. Aurelia spent over an hour playing on the different pieces of equipment!
Picnics are not permitted inside the zoo. Many of the animals wander freely and bringing food into the zoo might cause some problems! However, you can exit the zoo at any time and use the picnic benches outside the premises. There are however eateries where you can purchase reasonably priced hot and cold food and beverages and dine in designated areas.
The zoo offers souvenirs in their huge gift shop. The gifts were not overpriced, in fact, prices were extremely reasonable.
Entry fees to the zoo vary throughout the year. Click here for current prices. Currently, you can receive 20% off the entrance fee if you pay for your tickets online in advance. The cost of an adult ticket online is £13.20 and £9.80 for a child. These tickets can be used anytime between 1st April 2019 and 30th September 2019. This is an unbelievably low price for a fabulous family day out!